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Naperville divorce attorneyOriginally posted: October 16, 2017 -- Updated: 11.9.2021

Changes to federal tax laws in 2019 changed the way that spousal support is taxed in Illinois and throughout the U.S. Before 2019, spousal maintenance payments were tax-deductible for the payor. The recipient spouse could claim alimony or spousal support payments as taxable as income. Presently, spousal maintenance is not deductible from the income of the payer spouse. Additionally, the receiving spouse cannot include maintenance payments as income on their taxes.

Divorce can have a massive financial impact - especially when a divorcing spouse is dependent on their soon-to-be-ex-’s income. The purpose of spousal support or spousal maintenance is to offset the negative financial impact of divorce. Maintenance payments can give a stay-at-home parent or non-working spouse time to gain the job skills or education needed to be financially independent.

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IL familiy lawyerPaternity refers to the legal relationship between a child and the child’s father. When a woman has a baby, she is automatically considered the child’s legal parent. The woman’s husband, if she is married, also becomes the child’s legal parent. However, when unmarried parents have children together, the situation is different. Often, one or both parents will need to take additional steps to establish the legal relationship between the child and the father. Read on to learn about establishing paternity in Illinois and what you can do if you have questions or concerns about paternity.

How Can You Establish the Legal Father-Child Relationship?

Establishing paternity offers important advantages for both parents and children. The easiest way to establish paternity is for both parents to fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) and file it with the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services. However, this option is not always possible. If your child’s father refuses to sign the VAP or there is uncertainty about who the child’s father is, you may need to take action through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) or the court system. Genetic testing may be needed to verify the father’s biological relationship to the child. Typically, DNA paternity testing is accomplished by taking a small cheek cell sample from the inside of the mouth.

What is the Purpose of Establishing Paternity?

Often, the issue of paternity arises because a mother is seeking child support payments. Court-ordered child support is a crucial form of financial support for single parents. However, you cannot get child support from your child’s father if you have not established paternity. Once the child’s relationship with his or her father is officially established, you can petition the court for child support. The child also becomes entitled to health insurance coverage through the father’s healthcare plan, social security benefits, and inheritance rights. Once paternity is established, the father may also petition the court for parenting time with the child.

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IL divorce lawyerAutism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause difficulty with communication, socialization, and behavior. The condition ranges from extremely mild to severe. Some people with autism are unable to speak or take care of themselves. Others can handle everyday tasks but need assistance with more complex responsibilities.

As a parent of an autistic child, you may face significant child-related costs. Your child may need specialized education or childcare. He or she may participate in early intervention treatment services such as behavioral therapy or speech therapy. Some parents of children with autism forgo a career and stay home to care for their child full time. Expenses can quickly add up, and these costs do not disappear once the child turns 18. Fortunately, Illinois law provides a way for parents of children with disabilities to receive child support even after the child is an adult.

Financial Assistance for Divorced and Unmarried Parents with an Autistic Child

Unmarried and divorced parents in Illinois are often subject to a child support order. Typically, child support ends when a child graduates high school or college and becomes financially independent. However, a child with autism may not achieve the same level of independence during adulthood as neurotypical children. Illinois parents in this situation may be able to extend child support payments.

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